It is a fiercely competitive world out there. Today’s customers are savvy, sophisticated, and have high expectations for the brands they love. And, as we all know, customers are in the driver’s seat and choose one brand over another for reasons beyond just the product or service provided. They have a TON of options and if they don’t like a brand there are many others to pick from. But, when a customer LOVES a brand, they are LOYAL, and it is loyalty that fosters a long-term, committed relationship with that customer.
At Avocet, we help our clients articulate their brand promise and then put into place strategies that reach their customers in ways that communicate that promise, build trust, loyalty, and relationships that last. Our goal is to always create programs that leave our clients’ customers saying, “Why would I EVER use another brand?!”
The question is then, WHY does a customer love a brand?
The answer is simple: they love a brand because they feel that the brand loves them. They feel heard. They feel engaged. They believe in the authenticity of the brand, and they believe the brand is genuine. They feel that they KNOW the brand on a personal level. But, how is that emotional connection fostered?
Again, the answer is a simple one, trust.
Like in ANY relationship – personal or professional – delivering on the promises you make is THE most important thing a company does. A brand promise should be woven throughout all of your marketing initiatives, content strategies, creative, and digital strategies. But, it’s more than just well phrased messaging. It is your creed, what you live by and what guides your business.
A brand’s promise is essentially the very distillation of who you are and the solution you provide to your customers (note, it’s NOT the product or the service you provide). Your brand promise encompasses what your customers should expect from your company.
In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, members of a team at Deloitte elaborated on the power of a brand promise. “A distinctive and well-executed brand promise can cut through the clutter and drive intense customer loyalty and increased revenue. In short, a brand promise has the potential to make or break a company.”
There are many ways to convey that promise, but perhaps to most important one is through leadership and your employees. After all, a brand promise lives and breathes through a company’s people and then manifests through its actions, its products, and its services. Not living up to a brand promise can quite literally bring a business to its knees. And, with the speed at which a reputation can be tarnished in today’s world of social media, that is truer than ever before.
Living your brand promise – and ultimately protecting your business – also requires a few other elements, such as:
- Leadership involvement and prompt response to customer issues, questions, and concerns.
- Putting processes in place that ensure that your brand promise is upheld all along the customer journey.
- The proactive request for feedback and the ability to listen to the genuine concerns and perceptions of your customers.
- Communication that engages and trains your employees, most especially your sales team. They are your brand’s ambassadors, the ones on the front lines talking to customers, hearing and responding to concerns and feedback. Inconsistencies, or lack of knowledge and/or “buy-in” causes negative customer experience and confusion.
For additional insight into this subject, take a listen to my podcast with Manny Rodriguez, the chief marketing and experience officer for UCHealth, a nationally recognized Colorado health system comprised of leading community hospitals and the region’s top academic medical center. On this episode, you will be inspired by Manny’s creative approach to involving his employees in delivering the brand’s promise. LISTEN HERE.